Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hope-- this injury's almost over

I ran for the first time today in-- what has it been?-- eight or nine weeks. I’ve been in the pool and increasingly, on a spin bike. Learning new stretches, new exercises to lengthen and stretch my muscles. I found a new type of specialist-- a Functional Movement Specialist-- who has been helping me above and beyond whatever he’d be required to do to get me on my feet again. He’s watched me squat and lunge and hurdle and do all sorts of other things and determined my lower-leg problems-- this horrid  Achilles tendonitis-- is a result of weak hips. So-- he’s put together a program filled with elastic resistance bands in green and yellow. 

I’ve been icing. And heating. And massaging. Loving the foam roller like never before. Doing core work I never did, which is to say, hardly ever. Hey-- who knew I could do 120 full-length push-ups? One-legged planks? I was running so much before, I never gave my core much thought. But these days, I’ve been told, it’s what I ought to think about. 

And so, after weeks of this I stepped onto the treadmill this morning and did a flashy set of “motion prep” exercises that included marching in place with expressive arms, leg swings (forward and aft; left and right) and this side-hurdle things that might have at one point been in a vaudeville routine. But I did them, as I do all the exercises and stretches on my regimen because it’s all about running again. 

And today I did. Five minutes, pain free. For the first time in nine weeks. 

I’m sure other gym-patrons thought there was something wrong with me. This crazy-person who did a routine that might have required spandex and a six-pack of abs was now teary-eyed after five minutes of easy running. But I was! 

I was.

And I am. So happy to feel my body in this way again. Not to say anything bad about cycling or swimming. I enjoy them both and have learned to appreciate the skill required to exceed in each more so than I ever have due to the lingering nature of this injury. 
But to run: there is no other feeling. For me, it is though my disconnected pieces and parts form a singular whole. I get to dance with my spirit and feel the sinews of my toes run along the ruddy road of my spine. I’m a bird when I run, flying, soaring; I’m a deer darting through a forrest. I’m all those things; I am most me or not me. Beyond me.  I am happiest in that motion. And for five minutes today, five glorious minutes at a not-so-fast pace on a treadmill, I had a glimmer of promise. Perhaps there’s joy to come. 

So. I haven’t given up yet.  I know I never will. But whereas before I might have been a Knight of Faith- believing despite no evidence to sustain that belief-- I’m now something else. There’s hope. I have five minutes on these feet and though a far cry from 26.2 miles, it’s something. 

I hold it with both my hands, tight. 

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